Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Up With Food, Down With Foodies

Like most any man crashing into middle age, yours truly could afford to shed a few pounds, especially considering that my knees and back are slowly disintegrating into a fine powder-like substance one associates with ground chalk.

Of course, I want to be in good health when Wife gives birth next year, so it would pay for me to lose weight. As an exacting, thorough researcher, I have discovered the following fool-proof, scientifically proven, guaranteed-not-to-fail weight-loss techniques: the Palm Beach Diet, the Akins Diet, the Ultra Lipo Lean diet, the Laze Diet System, the Phat Predator diet, the Loose the Bums Diet, and, my favorite, something called “Zumba by Beto,” which has the distinction of sounding like the name of an Orc in the Slavic-language version of “The Lord of the Rings.”

I imagine that in this pantheon of diets is the idea that if one expends more calories than one consumes, weight will indeed be lost. The simple plan for me would be to lay off the nightly six-packs of Schlitz Special Reserve.

Research apparently posits that low-calorie diets will help prolong life, with some adherents to this philosophy eating 1,500 calories a day, though most people on such limited nourishment are so weak that they can’t think of anything except their next meal, have stopped paying attention to the world at large, and will be hit by a bus.

(And if it turns out tomorrow morning that the bad guys keep control of Congress, I’ll put on 10 pounds this week, cashing in my Dunkin’ Donuts gift certificates.)

She never went to Taco Taco Taco Bell

Diet plans generally do not inspire great literature—Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” aside—but food and drink does, all the way back to Eve pulling that damn apple off the tree, continuing through that first Roman who said “in vino veritas,” through Rabelais, that fine master of excess, and so on.

But “food writing”—non-fiction about the “art of eating” and other such swill—that’s another rodeo altogether. I’ve always thought that food and wine reviewing must be one of the hardest of all critical pursuits. You can only describe how something tastes in so many ways until fresh adjectives become scarcer than truffles; I would get stuck after “hot and spicy,” “spicy like,” and “spicy spice.”

I imagine there are great sentences in describing the joys of food, but while I love to eat and drink, I am no connoisseur of food and wine writing. If something tastes good, I like it, if it tastes bad, I hate it, and no amount of verbal bullying is going to make me enjoy olive paste or curried tomato chutney.

There was a time when I met in succession several comely women who said they wanted to quit their professional job and become a food writer, “like M.F.K. Fisher,” who wrote several memorable tomes on food. I hadn’t read the estimable Ms. Fisher, but this “I wanna write like M.F.K.” mania, which seemed to have peaked in the early 1990s, was replaced with “I wanna write a screenplay” craze, then “I wanna write children’s books,” and finally “I wanna write a blog (and get a book deal),” all of which were elaborate ways of saying “I wanna do anything but spend one more fucking day as a lawyer.”

One detects the faintest whiff of superiority in such types, especially those who declare themselves “foodies.” Not only does the word make no sense, it is one of the Five Worst Words of All Time, and anyone describing themselves a “foodie” to my face is in grave danger of having their lunch money forcibly removed from their person.

Foodie-like snobbery+wine=raging alcoholic

Calling oneself a “foodie” probably means, “I really enjoy food, much more than others, to the point of obsession.” I guess that makes a lover of Bach or Black Flag a “musicie,” and, if obsession is the standard, by nature the male half of the human race are “fuckies.” Me, I’m a “musicie fuckie readie writie sportsie combat-robotie,”* and in a few months, “daddyie.”

Which brings us back to the whole diet thing. To be fair, as Wife grows into round tumescence, I should probably hop on the Lose LBS Express. Still, my weight is probably the least of my worries. There’s baby crap to buy, wills to write, insurance to consider. There’s birthing classes to take and many more trips to the doctor. And many books on parenthood to read, hopefully none authored by an unhappy lawyer in dear need of a career change.

*After the original posting, I remembered another one: "tittie."